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Russia scraps its final Cold War submarine

Russia – Russia’€™s State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom has signed a contract with Italy for the decommissioning of the last existing Northern Fleet nuclear submarine no longer in operation. The co-operation is part of a financial scheme sustained through the Global Partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction, initiated by the G8 countries in 2002.

For years, Russia has been looking for a suitable funder to cover the large-scale scrapping of its remaining retired nuclear-powered submarine fleet. Now, Italy has stepped forward to provide US$ 8.4 million to remove the reactor compartments from the Cold War vessel which is laid up at Nerpa naval yard on the Kola Peninsula.

Some 66 reactor compartments are still to be moved on-shore to the storage location in Saida Bay. The storage facility already holds 47 reactor compartments, with seven more to follow in August and September this year, according to the head of Rosatom’€™s submarine dismantling office Anatoly Zaharchev.

‘€˜That is more than 40% of the total reactor compartments in question,’€™ he says. The US$ 181 million facility in Saida Bay was constructed in 2006 specifically to house these particular submarine parts because of the fact that their highly radioactive nature poses a significant safety hazard.

The USA has promised to add in US$ 1.2 million to cover any costs of transporting the spent nuclear fuel from the submarine’€™s two reactors, destined for Russia’€™s reprocessing plant in Mayak.

Meanwhile, Russia reports it has injected 50 million rubles (US$ 1.51 million) in the enterprise during 2012 so as to prepare reactor compartments for storage in Saida Bay; and the same amount will be contributed in 2013 towards the scrapping process.

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